The Modern Antiquarian. Ancient Sites, Stone Circles, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic Mysteries

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Craig-y-Dinas (Hillfort) — Fieldnotes

Parking is almost non existent, I left Phil in the car with instructions that should someone want entry into the field beep the horn, i'll come running, and move the car from in front of the gate. The fort is only a hundred yards from the road, and strangely for a hill fort, not on a hill, a nice level stroll through a field and you're there.
Anyway, technically its a promontory fort. The two banks and ditches cut off the area above the river llyfni and are still very tall and deep, walking along the bottom of the ditch the top of the bank is at least fifteen feet above me. At the end of the ditch I climb up onto the first tall bank and walk half way along, from here I can see the Dinas Dinlle seaside fort.
Down into the next ditch and back along to the south end of the fort and there is a morass of fort material, and a possible southern entrance.
Now i'm in the fort proper, there is a large Coflein certified artificial mound. At the eastern extreme of the fort there are no defences, there isn't much need, the ground falls sharply down to the aforementioned river. I go down to the river and sit on a knoll looking over the up and down of the fast flowing torrent.
Then I go back into the fort and out through the northern entrance, it's a weird entrance, it just sort of bypasses the earthworks, almost making them unnecessary, perhaps they were after all, just for show.

A very good and interesting fort in a beautiful area with fabulous views.

Craig-y-Dinas (Hillfort) — Images (click to view fullsize)

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Dinas Dinlle (Cliff Fort) — Images

<b>Dinas Dinlle</b>Posted by postman

Pant Ifan (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

A rather strange set of circumstances surround my visit with this stone, I was at home going through some of Cofleins blue dots and found a standing stone that I'd never heard of, it was not far from the road so I had a look on Google streetview, I could see it clear as day, it looks quite tall as well, taller than me. Coflein confidently ascribe it to the bronze age with a ritual or funerary purpose. How could that one pass us by completely unknown, i'll get to it shortly.

And here we are, it's just after tea time and the sun is getting low, far from setting, but low enough to shower us with that beautiful golden glow.
The lanes round here are thin, the stone is not on the map, so some competent map reading is required.
I parked in front of the gate that leads into the field, the stone is twenty yards distant. It stands atop a small slight slope, take away the trees and you've got good all round views. The stone is nearly 8 feet tall and appears to be a grey slate with green lichen growing upon it, my petrochemical analysis was then interrupted by the lady at the house next door to the field. She was put out by our ad hoc visit to the site and said she would have been pleased to have been asked, my meek face reserved specially for irate landowners and misdelivered mail slid seamlessly across my visage. Many sorry's and "the face" quickly placated her and then she freely divulged some information about the stone, local knowledge according to Aston's rules of archaeology is invariably wrong, yet right at the same time, we'll see.
The stones not old she says, well, it is old but not very old.
Oh yes ? The Royal commission of ancient and historical monuments of Wales doesn't agree, I offered.
She replied that it was put up to commemorate the Boer war, there's maybe 7 others in the vicinity.
Really ? where are they can you point me in the direction of the nearest other.
She duly pointed, and we said goodbye. I took a few pictures and we left, we had a half hearted look for the stone she pointed us towards but couldn't find it.
Perhaps this was why no one else had bothered with this stone, it's only just over a hundred years old, but why do Coflein say Bronze age. I decided to go to a nearby hill fort, where we know were on firmer footing.

Later at home and back on the computer I looked into the matter, there are indeed other standing stones in the very close vicinity, four in a half mile long rectangle. So she was half right there.
Also on Cofleins site description of the stone we went to see, it says it was recorded on the 1st edition OS map of 1889, seeing as the Boer war wasn't till ten years later, she was all wrong there. Also, a quick look at Boer war commemorative stones brings nothing like the stone we saw.
Was she just trying to stop people coming to see the stone by saying it wasn't all that old, that's my feeling, but why aren't these stones better known.
Someone with more resources and time should look into it.

Pant Ifan (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Images

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Carn Fadryn (Hillfort) — Fieldnotes

There is free parking for nigh on a dozen cars by the church, south of the fort, as parking spots go it's a good one, on one side is Carn Fadryn itself and on the other is the rest of the Lleyn peninsula, for those who elect to stay in the car it at least has a good view.
On the other side of the church go up a lane that goes up to the covered reservoir, go through a gate turn right and follow the thin but well worn path, it goes all the way (baby) to the top.
Near the top we go through the southern entrance, the wall goes off to the right and round a corner and left it continues up hill towards the rocky summit. The childrens guide to climbing mountains expressly forbids any dallying with ancient remains, but insists that you proceed straight to the top with gusto and intrepidity. So, straining against the strong wind I'm led up a mountain by two thirteen year olds, one of whom has never been up a mountain, and the other has seen too many Bear Grylls.
I turn to photograph some of the huts and pounds that huddle out of the wind under the cliffs, from here I can see Mynydd Tir-y-Cwmwd, where we've just seen a very sorry dismantled dolmen, below me is the fort interior, coflein assures us that the entire place is covered in hut circles, but they've all gone from there, but not gone is a cairn, we'll see that shortly though. There is also a cairn further up the rocks behind me closer to the top, so I return to following the kids, who have now somewhat disconcertingly, disappeared.
I catch up with them huddled behind some rocks, the wind is very strong, not cold, but strong. They have also inadvertently stopped right by the cairn, so I give it a good inspection whilst they sit and look on.
Right up at the top is the trig point, 371 meters high, doesn't sound much does it, it's not even once round the running track, but 1217 feet does sound a lot. Apparently if a hill is over a thousand feet its a mountain, perhaps explaining why we consider Wales to be very mountainous.
Up at the top, the ground seems not wholly natural, I found that was probably because there was once a Norman tower castle up here, nothing too big, just big enough to make the downtrodden locals feel oppressed.
From up at the top the view is teasingly not over expansive, behind Garn Boduan The Rivals struggle to be seen through the haze, and the whole of Snowdonia just isn't there at all.
We start the walk along the great north wall, the night watch are long gone now, the dozens and dozens of huts and pounds are getting swallowed by high heather and much greenyness. I even stumble across the north entrance, it too is choked with undergrowth. But even better hidden than the entrance will be something I've not heard of before. If it's not unique let me know, this is cofleins description..........A robbed and ruined cist or ancient burial vault, 2.4m by 1.2m, is overlain by the inner rampart of Carn Fadrun. It is suggested that the cist was originally covered by a cairn, of which a scatter of loose boulders remain. Such a monument would conventionally be ascribed to the Bronze Age...........
How on earth am I supposed to discern a cairn with a wall over it, a wall that fell centuries ago and has spread twenty yards in either direction, this one will stretch my stone finding skills to be sure. A needle in a haystack, and a haystack made of needles.
We continue to the end of the north wall to the north east corner of the fort, on another rocky outcrop. Ive already seen half a dozen contenders for being ex cists. But then I find what I thought to be hut circle attached to the inner side of the inner wall, but the interior of the hut is very small, this could be the cairn, the inner scoop of the cairn is chokka block full of plant growth, at the time, I was still unsure so we carried on. At the south east corner, I decided that that was it after all, maybe, probably.
I detour into the forts interior to see the big cairn, it has been added to by Joe public, massively. So much so that I wonder if its bronze age at all, the very lowest section looks to be it, even a couple of kerb stones?
Back to the kids and we finish off the mountaineering part of the day by returning to the path via a path of our own choosing, over and among massive rocks, short cliffs and small caves, quite dangerous, stick to the path.

A superb hill fort with loads to see, epic views, easy to get to, but, still not as good as Tre'r Cieri.

Carn Fadryn (Hillfort) — Images

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Garn Saethon (Hillfort) — Miscellaneous

Coflein says......A roughly triangular area, 100m N-S by 77m, upon a craggy summit, rests on abrupt crags on the E and SW, elsewhere it is defined by a ruined wall.
On the E and N are traces of relict field walls below the enclosure.

The fort is highly visible from Carn Fadryn and from the road as you drive to Llanbedrog to see a ruined dolmen, but that was as close as we got, it's on the list now so it might not be too long, but don't hold your breath.

Garn Saethon (Hillfort) — Images

<b>Garn Saethon</b>Posted by postman

Mynydd Carnguwch (Round Barrow(s)) — Images

<b>Mynydd Carnguwch</b>Posted by postman

Mynydd Tir y Cwmwd (Burial Chamber) — Fieldnotes

The first time I tried to come here we got hopelessly turned round coming from the wrong direction, I lost my way and about 85% of my grip on reality, gave up and went somewhere easier to find, ie; home.
Better equipped, we returned for another crack at the whip, another stroke of the goose, another push at the rod accentuater, another.... well, again.
From Llanbedrog head south on the A499, for those eagle eyed among us they may notice the pair of hill forts either side of the road, turn left after here at a brown sign saying Bolmynydd. Follow this single file lane, it turns 90 degrees right, then hairpins back on itself, follow this till you get to a small car park next to the Bolmynydd caravan and campsite. From the car park head up the lane with no end, you can get up there by car but there probably wont be anywhere to park, and it's only a five minute walk. At the blue Peugeot, it's on street view, keep going on the footpath and out onto the heath, when the footpath branches, go left for 10. 65 meters then strike out into the grasses, the big stone is there and visible in low undergrowth, from car to stone about 8 or 9 minutes.

We had another of Eric's school mates with us today, Jack, clearly he had no idea about what a trip out into Wales is comprised of. Eric and me immediately laid into the brown ferns and the ready to strangle brambles, peeling back the undergrowth so as to reveal as much of the big stone as possible, Jack looked on bemused, I then realised that we hadn't explained what we were about, I'd taken it for granted that this was normal and everyday, the look on Jacks face was priceless, clearly we were suffering from some kind of neurological impairment. It's just a rock he suggests, I explain that it's a stone, not a rock, I can tell this is not washing, so I explain further, but this takes us into territory that I often wrestle with myself, why, how, when and what does it all mean, if anything, any way it's a stone, ok?

Coflein says the big stone is 3.58m by 1.42m and about 0.5m thick, and that it's the capstone of a megalithic chamber, 'thrown down' c.1850, and possibly obscured subsequently. So they destroyed a dolmen and then tried to bury or hide the one big stone they couldn't remove. The Bounders.
After revealing almost all the stone, some of it obstinately refused to come out of the ground, I photographed it and with not a small amount of.....something, I agreed with Jack and said it is just a stone, mainly, lets go and climb a mountain.
Everyone understands the worth of climbing a mountain, Jack certainly did, back on firm ground, Terra Normality.

Mynydd Tir y Cwmwd (Burial Chamber) — Images

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Penbryn Mawr (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

After a most rewarding afternoon on the Lleyn I decided it was high time for round two with Penbryn Mawr, for an idea on how round one went refer to my field notes of December 2009.
Suffice to say, I didn't find the stone last time, but after much snooping about on the portal and google earth, I knew exactly where it was, and I knew why there was so much confusion the first time.
The grid reference numbers given on this site page and the Penbryn Mawr page on Coflein are out by over five hundred metres. The actual grid reference is SH45355391. To also throw into the confusion, Cofleins description of the stone describes to a T the stone in the driveway of Penbryn Mawr house, but not the stone by the road on a hump at the grid ref given here.
So, the bronze age standing stone is by the road 530 meters (app) west of Penbryn Mawr farm house, however, for those of us blessed by a comprehension of the Welsh tongue a knock on the door at Penbryn mawr could be more rewarding than the actual standing stone itself. Read previous notes.
Showing 1-50 of 7,668 posts. Most recent first | Next 50
After visiting over a thousand ancient places and driving between fifteen to twenty thousand miles every year I can only conclude that I'm obsessed with these places, and finding this website seven years ago only compounded that obsession, at least I'm not alone anymore.

My favourite places are:

Ring of Brodgar
Callanish
Balnauran of Clava
Torhouskie
Swinside
Nine stones close
Bryn Celli Ddu
The Druids circle (penmaenmawr)
HafodyGors Wen
Gwal y Filiast
Grey Wethers
Boscawen Un
La Roche au Fees
Drombeg
Uragh
Talati De Dalt

and these are only the ones that immediatly spring to mind, so many stones and not enough lifetimes.

My TMA Content: